Cierra is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger and educator, originally hailing from the gorgeous Hocking Hills, Ohio. She is an alumna of the McNally Smith College of Music in Saint Paul, MN (BM Strings Performance) and just released her first full length album (Music For Canines) with her band "The Brains Of This Operation?." Cierra specializes in many styles and is currently a teacher of classical and alternative styles in Violin, Viola and Cello at Simply Strings Studio in Saint Paul and Schmitt Music in Minnetonka, Minnesota.
Cierra is currently a full time member of several musical groups, including the video game band, Do A Barrel Roll!, and is a founding member of The Brains Of This Operation?. (Former full time memeber of the Brian Metreyeon Band.) In addition to these full time positions, Cierra also performs as a solo artist, and has been a guest artist with many other groups around the country, including Randy Sabien and the Fiddlehead Band, the Grammy Award Winning Okee Dokie Brothers, Story City, and Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra. Also on the list is a performance by the Woman's City Cabaret at the Fitzgerald Theater that aired on MPR and TPT. Cierra has also travelled and presented her music all over the United States as well as multiple performances in Europe and South America, with a variety of musical groups, from Big Band jazz to classical.
While still in college, Cierra’s school ensemble competed and won Grand Prize in the Eclectic Strings Competition at the American String Teachers Association National Conference. They performed at the final concert and you can watch the performance, here.
The offspring of a musical family, Cierra was immersed into a world of sound at an early age. She first began seriously studying music on the piano at the age of 2, then later branched out to studying music on the guitar, flute, mountain and hammered dulcimer, cello and others. At the age of nine or ten (she still doesn’t remember which!), she began studying the violin, and at last found her true love.
After many years of classical training, performances with multiple orchestras and countless hours of practice, Cierra started exploring the world of alternative violin; styles like blues, rock, country, jazz and more. She began listening to Stephane Grappelli, Sugarcane Harris, Jean-Luc Ponty, Stuff Smith, Papa John Creach, Regina Carter, Karen Briggs and even musicians playing other instruments, gathering vocabulary and mimicking style from every artist, creating a new sound for her violin.
In addition to teaching and performing, Cierra spends time in the studio, recording her own music and also recording for both "up and coming" artists as well as seasoned pros, including Sarah Winters, Jeremy Messersmith and many faculty members of McNally Smith.
Cierra currently plays a 1782 Hentschel acoustic violin and a custom 7-String Viper violin by Mark Wood.
August 13th is Mei-Ling Felten and Cierra Hill Day in Saint Paul, MN! The two fiddlers, and best friends, were awarded this proclamation after several years of performances for Saint Paul city events, benefits and more, and were personally awarded this honor by the Mayor Chris Coleman himself.